Reiner Maria Matysik. ++ o ++
Lichthaus Arnsberg
19. June – 29. August 2021

On view at Lichthaus Arnsberg this July is ++ o ++ – the solo show of the Duisborg-born artist, Reiner Maria Matysik. On an abstract, sculptural level, the work deals with humankind’s influence on the cycle of nature and the resulting consequences.


Matysik particularly focuses on water. This is also evident in the exhibition’s title, which picks up on formal elements of the chemical formula H2O – namely crosses and circles. Central to the installation is the aluminium sculpture wolke (cloud)which was created as part of the Emscher art project fluss wird wolke (river becomes cloud). For this, the artist developed a cloud machine in 2013 and installed it on a sewage-free section of the river Emscher. Matysik’s intervention caused the river to rise, shortly before it flowed into the Rhine’s estuary as cloud-like vapour – an act that could be read as an artistic commentary on rewilding measures of the river of Ruhr. The aluminium sculpture was also visible during this process. Instead of floating, it now lies heavy and immobile on the floor of Lichthaus Arnsberg and has become a metaphor for the dangers posed by human intervention in sensitive ecosystems and water cycles; the consequences of polluted rain or the lack of it are well known. 


A further reference to rivers is apparent with the glass sculptures bifurkationeinschnürung and wechselständiges. Taken from the series trübung (2017), each are filled with water and positioned on scaffolding. The term ‘bifurcation’, for example, refers to when a flowing body of water branches into two different river streams. The scaffolding also points to construction measures (for example installing canal systems, river straightening, or dams) with which humankind has made use of the enormous strength of water since the first settlements were built. Each sculpture also illustrates the eternal cycle of water – the perpetually repetitive change in the states of matter between evaporation and condensation. 


On a sculptural level, Reiner Maria Matysik’s ++ o ++ demonstrates how fragile the world we live in is, and how quickly our familiar environment can change because of irresponsible actions. That implies, among other things, that how we deal of water – a precious and vital resource – must fundamentally change. Due to human-induced climate change, drought has long become a daily topic in our latitude; just consider a local and already visible consequence, namely the dieback of spruce trees in Arnsberg Forest. 


Matysik’s works are also on view in the parallel exhibition AFTER LIFE at Kunstverein Arnsberg. Just like Matysiks works, the exhibited pieces of Stephanie Dinkins, Jon Lomberg and Ana Rajcevic speculate on the form and habitat of human and hybrid ways of life in the near and distant future.  


The installation is a cooperation between the cultural office of the city of Arnsberg and Kunstverein Arnsberg as part of the Arnsberg Summer of Culture.


With the kind support of Sparkasse Arnsberg-Sundern and Beleke carpenters.


Installation view, Reiner Maria Matysik. ++ O ++, Lichthaus Arnsberg © The artist